Businesses were quick to furlough every somewhat-surplus member of staff… and rightly so. We didn’t, and still don’t, appreciate the full impact of the pandemic and the job retention scheme was essentially employer serviced social security. But, now we’re entering into a time of even greater, wider-spread uncertainty – the risks still rage on and the economic impact is still incomprehensible. Despite this, employers are being forced to make decisions regarding the future of their employees – either part-timing, part-paying or making cuts for self-preservation.
Working with a variety of businesses we’ve witnessed varying responses – some cutting back to the bare minimum and some going above and beyond. Some are using the furlough scheme to their advantage and others quite simply taking advantage. We’ve been inspired and disappointed in equal measures.
We’ve also heard a lot of crazy talk! “We’ve guaranteed that no-one will lose their job.” Really?! “Everyone’s furloughed, but we’re still expecting them to work at home.” Grief! “We furloughed our entire middle management and managed just fine without them.” Wow! “We’ve cut back to less than half our workforce and have been just as productive.” Mind blown! “We can’t cope with the amount of work because the majority of our staff are furloughed.” Right?!
I think we’re about to see redundancies rocket and unemployment rise to levels that we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes. The livelihoods of employees are literally in the hands of their employers. Our nation needs business leaders to step-up and be the next wave of heroes. Now is the time for strong leadership.
Business leaders have an obligation to do what’s best for their shareholders, so there is an inherent conflict – do what’s right for the greater good at significant cost, or protect shareholder value at all costs. But it’s not as simple as that. Serving the greater good provides unquantifiable value in terms of profile raising and brand appreciation – those that are creative, adaptable, kind and determined will be remembered and rewarded as we move forward. Whatever your business, consciously investing now will make a big impression and should literally pay dividends in the future.
This is now a marketing challenge in need of strong marketing leadership.
Author: James Good